Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the
May 9, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Smarter E-mail Marketing: Blaine Greenfield
Use E-mail to inform, to sell, and to build strong
relationships. Just don’t use it to send Christmas greetings. So says
Blaine Greenfield, owner of Blaine Greenfield Associates in
East Windsor and marketing teacher at Bucks County Community College.
E-mail is a powerful business tool, he says, but companies are just
not exploiting its potential. Sending a mass Christmas or Hanukkah
mailing, for instance, is unimaginative and dooms the message to be
quickly deleted by customers overloaded with seasonal greetings.
Greenfield speaks on "Marketing Using Technology" at the New
Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Conference on Friday,
May 11, at 8 a.m. at the New Brunswick Hyatt. Cost: $69. Call
A complete list of workshops and speakers follows this article.
Greenfield, who holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing education from
Rider (Class of 1971) and a master’s degree in vocational-technical
education from Rutgers, grew up in marketing. He followed his
and his father into Federal Distributing Corporation, a family
involved in sampling and distribution. He left the company in the
1970s, he says, because "a large part of it was cigaret sampling,
and I didn’t want to be involved in it all my life." He founded
his own marketing firm in 1976, but did return to the family business
for a time when it shifted emphasis from cigarets to the distribution
of phone books.
A member of an entrepreneurial family, Greenfield, whose mother still
runs an interior decorating business after retiring to Florida,
small and mid-sized companies implementing a variety of marketing
techniques. Technology is not often the whole show, but he says it
has its place. "Marketing is still high touch, not high tech,"
he says. "Even with technology you can have close personal
Technology lets you do it more quickly and efficiently."
E-mail has turned out to be the universal runaway hit of the Internet,
technology working so well that few businesses can imagine how they
functioned without it. Greenfield says, used correctly, it can add
customers and keep current customers happy. Here are his suggestions
for doing E-marketing the right way:
Day or Happy Copier Salesman’s Day. Avoid the obvious, says
Everyone sends Christmas cards via E-mail. Check the calendar, and
be creative. "No marketing idea is brilliantly new," he says.
Find out all you can about business contacts, and then send greetings
for occasions that are important to them. And don’t forget the
that is important to everyone.
"I send out 400 birthday cards, and increase it by 100 a
Greenfield says. "It’s the single most powerful thing that I
Speaking like the marketer that he is, Greenfield says he gets a 30
percent response rate from the birthday greetings, mostly in the form
One caveat: Don’t send Blue Mountain Arts E-cards, or similar Internet
stock greetings that have been done to death. Greenfield says it is
much better to make up a custom card. He has turned out
versions of David Letterman’s Top Ten List, for instance.
to the digital form of the Wall Street Journal, reads it religiously,
and always keeps an eye out for items that match his business
interests. When he sees an article, perhaps on banking, that a number
of his clients might be interested in, he zaps a copy to each of them.
"It takes two seconds," he says, yet is a most effective way
of letting contacts know he is thinking of them. Newsletters are a
staple way of keeping in touch for clients and potential clients,
he says, and is a great tool. But it is a good idea to vary
and sending information E-mail recipients will enjoy is a prime way
to do so.
to send the same banking article to 23 people with click of a mouse,
but to send it in such a way that each has no idea it was sent to
22 other people. It is vital to send bulk E-mail this way, Greenfield
says. Not everyone observes this rule, which he calls "basic
etiquette." Many people, and some businesses, send out mail that
begins with a string of names. This compromises the privacy of
listed at the top of the E-mail, is annoying to read through, and
no one should send E-mail to any person who has not expressly
that he wants to receive it. "It’s spam," he says. Avoid it,
but know that getting that permission is one of the most important
marketing moves a company can make. It delivers potential customers
who have shown a strong interest in a product by agreeing to be
Give some thought to obtaining this permission, Greenfield says. Don’t
just ask something like "Do you want to receive E-mail?" Make
the offer enticing. Say "Do you want to know when we have a big
sale?" or something similar that will show a clear benefit to
agreeing to be put on an E-mail list.
that has the telltale "FW" in it. Standing for
the initials are a clear sign that the attached missive is part of
a bulk mailing. Most readers press "delete" as soon as they
see forwarded mail, Greenfield says. Inundated by spam, most people
need little excuse to press that delete button. Thought needs to be
given to the subject line, capturing attention in the nanosecond of
thought surfers expend in deciding which new E-mail to open. Consider
using names in the subject line, Greenfield says. Personalizing mail
is an old direct mail tactic, he says, and it works. Beyond using
a name, offer recipients a compelling reason to read the message,
perhaps by touting a limited-time sale or the price of a cut-rate
you need to be ready to answer it. This can be a chore, one that
the dark underside of E-mail. Getting out personal responses can be
a daunting task for a company of any size, taxing resources and
for extra manpower, but it is a most important one. Greenfield himself
is still smarting from an auto-reply from America Online that he is
convinced was at least three years old. When he wrote back to say
it was "a stupid letter," he got no response at all.
test the stuff you’re sending out, but nobody does it," says
He tells his clients to create their own board of advisors, made up
of current customers. These are the people whose opinion counts most,
he says. Have them read and evaluate your latest E-newsletters. Strive
to get an honest opinion out of them. "Don’t say `What do you
think of my newsletter?’" he advises. "Say `What is one thing
we could be doing better?’"
E-mail, lets businesses connect with potential clients in ways that
just were not possible before. When he goes to a trade fair, for
Greenfield collects E-mail addresses and sends a thank-you note to
everyone who visited his booth. "If I tried to contact 100 people
by phone, I’d never get through," he says. "I can E-mail them
all in seven seconds."
New Brunswick Hyatt include:
include Joan Verplanck, president, New Jersey Chamber; Norm DeLuca,
Fleet Bank; Maxine Ballen, executive director, NJ Technology Council;
and Rosemary Alito, McCarter & English.
Michael Cherenson, Cherenson Group,and Rich Ecke, Berry Associates
Tiernan, NJSBDC E-Business Training Director; and Dana Hutchins,
<B>Judith Heumann was barred from public school until
the fourth grade, and was able to begin her teaching career only after
suing the Board of Education of the New York City school system.
with polio at age 18 months, Heumann is confined to a wheel chair.
Her personal experience with the discrimination that affects persons
with disabilities propelled her toward a career in which she strives
to improve opportunities for others.
Heumann served as assistant secretary for special education and
services in the Clinton White House, and is co-founder of the American
Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities and of Disabled in Action.
She helped develop legislation that became the Individuals with
Education Act and the American with Disabilities Act.
Heumann delivers the keynote address, "Meeting the Challenges
of Career Development as a Woman with a Disability," at the Women
& Wellness Conference, sponsored by the YWCA of Princeton, the Jewish
Family & Children’s Service, and the Senior Resource Center on Monday,
May 14, at 5 p.m. at Adath Israel Congregation, on Route 206 just
south of Rider University. Free. Call 609-497-2100, ext. 303.
In addition to Heumann’s address, the Wellness Conference features
six workshops, including "Optimizing Health Insurance and Estate
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